Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Health Center

Font Size

Studies Question Need to Watch Your Salt

WebMD Health News

Aug. 14, 2014 -- Worried about your salt intake? You may not need to be.

A trio of studies has given us a clearer picture of the relationship between salt and heart health.

Although we’ve been told for years to watch our salt, experts say new research questions that.

“You don’t need to be freaking out about salt,” says Suzanne Oparil, MD, a cardiologist and blood pressure expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Why? Two of the new studies found that for most people -- especially those younger than 55 and those who don’t have high blood pressure -- there’s a sweet spot for sodium in the range of 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams a day. As long as sodium intake stays in that range, there seems to be little impact on the heart or blood pressure, those studies found.

In comparison, a teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

And the good news is that most of us are already there. According to the CDC, the average American gets about 3,400 milligrams a day. And 95% of Americans get less than 6,000 milligrams a day, according to the U.S. government.

Those two studies gauged the amount of sodium eaten by more than 100,000 people in 17 different countries by measuring the sodium in their urine. Researchers then looked at their blood pressure and the number of heart attacks, strokes, cases of heart failure, and deaths they had over the next 4 years.

A third study combined the results of more than 200 previous studies of sodium from around the world. The study researchers then compared average intakes to rates of heart disease and high blood pressure.

That study found higher rates of heart problems and high blood pressure linked to sodium, but experts say the conclusions are based on estimations rather than direct measurements, so the results should be viewed with caution. “They didn’t really study anything, they just put together the results of a large number of observational studies and surveys. They maneuvered the data,” Oparil says.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

hdl letters stacked up
How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol.
Learn the causes.
Compressed heart
5 habits to change.
heart rate
What’s normal? What’s not?
Lower Cholesterol 02
Heart Foods Slideshow
Compressed heart
doctor looking at xrays
Heart Disease And Ed
Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow
lowering blood pressure
Wide Awake For Heart Surgery